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Making changes to your heritage property

All councils in Victoria are responsible for conserving heritage places - such as buildings, bridges, memorials, trees and gardens - by applying a Heritage Overlay to the related land.

This means that a permit is required for some changes to a heritage listed place.

We are committed to conserving and enhancing Whittlesea's local heritage, but also recognise that places need to change in order to remain usable by our local communities.

For this reason, we are generally supportive of planning permit applications that balance the ongoing use or maintenance of a heritage place with the protection of its heritage significance.

Heritage places in the City of Whittlesea

We recently reviewed and updated the Whittlesea Heritage Study, which assesses heritage places in the City of Whittlesea. This document is now a reference document in the Whittlesea Planning Scheme.

This study identified 87 additional places that are historically or culturally significant, which are now protected by the Heritage Overlay. The review also recommended updates to some of the existing heritage places.

The following documents provide details of the Study:

What is the Heritage Overlay

The Heritage Overlay is one of the standard planning zones and overlays in Victoria that is applied through the Whittlesea Planning Scheme

The Heritage Overlay identifies whether the owner of a heritage place must apply for a Council planning permit before making changes to their property. It aims to ensure that any changes to an identified property consider its heritage significance.

Each heritage place is assigned a Heritage Overlay number, which is used to identify the place on the Planning Scheme maps and in the associated schedule to the Heritage Overlay.

Owners and carers of heritage properties

The Heritage Overlay may increase the planning permit requirements that apply to your property.

If your property is heritage-listed, you may need a planning permit to:

  • construct or extend a building
  • construct or display a sign
  • subdivide or consolidate land
  • lop or remove significant trees
  • demolish or remove a building
  • externally alter a building

You should always contact our Planning Department to find out whether you will require a planning permit before making alterations or modifications to your heritage-listed property.

Public access

You remain the owner of your property and the Heritage Overlay does not give public access to your property, it simply sets out what changes to your property will require a planning permit.

Restoring your property

Listing on the Heritage Overlay does not mean that you are required to restore your property or return it to its original appearance. However, you will need to satisfy the planning permit requirements that apply to your property if you do choose to make changes.

Routine maintenance

You will usually not require a planning permit to do routine maintenance to your property but you should check with us if you want to change a building’s colour or materials.

Different uses

The Heritage Overlay does not prohibit any uses beyond those that may already be restricted by your property’s zone. In fact, the Heritage Overlay may provide an opportunity for alternative uses where these help to conserve or enhance the heritage place or building.

Internal building alterations

It is very rare that you will need a planning permit to make internal alterations to a heritage building, but the Whittlesea Planning Scheme will identify if such restrictions apply to your specific property.

Historical places and heritage events

You can discover the rich heritage of the City of Whittlesea by visiting local historical sites or attending one of our Cultural Heritage Program events.